Protesters gathered outside Nellie’s Sports Bar on Sunday evening after a video went viral of a young Black woman being dragged down a flight of stairs inside the U Street establishment.
The incident occurred on Saturday evening, following a day of Pride festivities that brought large crowds out to D.C.’s various bars and nightclubs.
In the video, filmed by another patron, security personnel drag the young woman down the stairs by her hands and her hair, which prompted fellow patrons to attack two security guards, leading to an altercation between patrons and staff.
The video, which starts when security is halfway down the stairs, does not show the initial interaction between security, the woman, or any other patrons.
The woman, who later identified herself as 22-year-old Keisha Young of Maryland, said the security officer mistook her for someone else who had brought an open bottle into the bar.
“It was an altercation in there,” Young told CBS affiliate WUSA9. “They were trying to get some other people out because somebody else brought a bottle in there. Somehow I got mixed up in an altercation because I look like somebody else and I got hit and dragged down the steps.”
The video was posted to Instagram by Black Lives Matter DC, which organized a protest outside the bar on Sunday evening, around 6:30 p.m., drawing several dozen people.
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Protesters held up signs, chanted, and called on patrons to boycott Nellie’s, alleging the bar has a history of anti-Black racism.
Nellie’s Sports Bar released a statement on Instagram, saying, “We were incredibly upset and disturbed to see the unfortunate event that took place at Nellie’s last night. We are undergoing a full investigation of the situation. At Nellie’s, we foster an inclusive and safe environment, so events like this are completely unacceptable to us.”
Young, who attended the protest, told WJLA that “an apology is not going to get rid of the bruises on my body.”
She claimed she lost a pair of prescription glasses, an iPhone, and shoes during the altercation, and that her clothes were torn.
Young also insisted she did nothing to deserve the treatment she received Saturday, and said she appreciated the show of support from the protesters.
“I didn’t expect it to turn into something like this, to be honest, but I’m feeling very warm that a lot of people are out here helping support me,” she said.
The Capital Pride Alliance issued a statement early Monday afternoon condemning the “reprehensible actions taken by Nellie’s staff over the weekend.”
“The incident resulted in Keisha Young being dragged by the hair down the stairs, which was a violent response to the trivial action of allegedly bringing into the bar a bottle of liquor,” Capital Pride Alliance said. “Pride weekend is a time for celebration and remembrance, and this incident is a reminder that we need to do a better job of protecting one another.”
In a video posted to Twitter by journalist Chuck Modi, D.C. Black Lives Matter organizer Preston Mitchum said protesters were “tired of Nellie’s only caring about the Black dollar but not Black bodies. We’re fed up.
“We need to remember that Pride was a riot,” Mitchum said. “The first Pride that we know of as Stonewall was a riot led by Black people and brown people.”
Doug Schantz, the owner of Nellie’s, could not be reached for comment.
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